PESHAWAR: In a surprising move, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Governor Shah Farman on Sunday removed three ministers — Muhammad Atif Khan, Shahram Khan Tarakzai and Shakeel Ahmad — from the cabinet for their alleged attempt to remove Chief Minister Mahmood Khan.
According to a notification issued by K-P Chief Secretary Taj Muhammad states that the governor exercised his powers under Article 132 read with clause 1 of Article 105 of the Constitution.
“On their de-notification from their respective offices, they have ceased to hold portfolios of provincial ministers with immediate effect.”
Atif was serving as the senior minister for sports, culture and tourism while Tarakzai was the health minister and Ahmad held the revenue and estate portfolio.
The move comes amid reports of escalating power-struggle between Atif and K-P CM Mahmood. The two ruling PTI leaders reportedly had a showdown in a provincial cabinet meeting last week.
However, the reports of confrontation were denied by officials.
According to sources, both Atif and Shahram during the last tenure of the PTI government in K-P made several attempts to remove former CM Pervez Khattak from his post but they could not succeed.
Following the general elections in 2018, they also lobbied for the post of K-P CM with Atif emerged as the top candidate, however, Mahmood was nominated as the chief minister after senior leaders Pervez Khattak and Asad Qaiser expressed reservations over Atif’s name, they added.
The insiders said that the trio stepped up their efforts to destabilise the K-P government, when the reports of forward block in the ruling party was coming in from Punjab and Balochistan.
In a bid to quell their efforts of toppling the government, CM Mahmood reshuffled the portfolio of Shahram and appointed him as the health minister but it did not help him, the sources said.
Subsequently, the chief minister took up the issue with Prime Minister Imran Khan and on his directives he sacked the disgruntled ministers from the cabinet.
Party sources also said the disciplinary action would be initiated against the sacked ministers and the disgruntled K-P lawmakers who were backing the move to remove CM Mahmood.
As part of the action, show cause notices would be issued to them by their respective district party management.
Meanwhile, the sources said that the estranged party lawmakers have summoned the meeting to decide the future course of action.